Yes, you read that right, inspired by the excellent Hopper & Son virtual FA Cup, Football in Berkshire are proud to announce the launch of our own version, with a twist.
If you don’t know about the Hopper & Son FA Cup, it was dreamt up by a father and son groundhopping duo who took all 736 entrants to this seasons competition, held a live draw and simulated the matches through the medium of twitter polls.
Through all the qualifying rounds, the First Round, Third Round, you get the picture right up to the semi finals which have just been ‘played’ between Hashtag United and Liverpool, and Bristol Manor Farm and Jersey Bulls – who incidentally knocked Ascot United out in the quarters. The final will be ‘at Wembley’ in May between Hashtag and Manor Farm.
How will it work?
Now then, the Berkshire Virtual County FA Cup will obviously include all the senior clubs across the county plus a couple we’ve snuck in because.. well why not (we’re quite literally making this up as we go along). The twist we mentioned? We’re piling all the men’s and women’s teams together, so hopefully, we’ll see a few inter-club clashes.
Each ‘match’ will consist of a 90 minute long twitter poll where people can vote for their favourite club. At the end of the poll, the club with the most votes ‘wins’ (or draws) the match and takes the point.
We’ve setup a 64 team tournament that’s starts with a group stage consisting of 16 groups of four who’ll ‘play’ each other once. 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw with the top two teams qualifying for the knockout stage. Teams level on points will be separated by a cumulative number of votes over the three games.
All being well, we’ll do the draw for the group stage at the weekend, with the competition kicking off in midweek, under the lights.
After that, the 16 first place teams will be drawn against the 16 second placed teams, and then open draws for all the subsequent rounds.
UPDATE: The full draw for the group stage has now been made. See it here
How many teams?
We’ve calculated so far that there are 49 senior men’s and women’s teams (this doesn’t include reserve, development or youth sides as we figure you wouldn’t want to split your vote), plus Reading FC men makes 50. Therefore we have 14 wildcard spaces, details of how those will be applied will be posted on our Twitter account.
Semi finals and final
Finally, we will of course open a virtual bidding process for clubs to virtually host the semi finals and final in due course.
Hat tip: A big thank you to Darrel Evans at Ascot United for this absolute headache of an idea. I hope you stub your toe or something.
*Please note, this tournament is in no way endorsed by the Berks & Bucks County FA. Unless they want to of course.